Scotland’s reputation as one of the most beautiful countries on the planet means it is particularly adored by TV and film crews, eager to capture some of that magic and project it onto the big and small screens. Whether it be the latest Marvel comic book blockbuster, Oscar-winning Shakespearean adaptations, historical dramas, horror movies, or fantasy epics – they’ve all come calling at one point or another.
But with such a wealth of movie and film locations to see on your trip, just where do you start? Well, here are just some of the superb locales to visit if you wish to follow the footsteps of your favourite movie stars.
1. Rosslyn Chapel
This stunning medieval building is located in the small village of Roslin, to the south of Edinburgh. The 15th century chapel building is steeped in legends linked to the Freemasons and the Knights Templar, and has even been suggested as one of the hiding places of the Holy Grail. These connections have long made it perfect fodder for authors and film-makers. Chief among them is Dan Brown’s international pop culture phenomenon The Da Vinci Code. Scenes from the subsequent movie adaptation – starring Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou – were filmed in and around the chapel.
Address: Rosslyn Chapel, Chapel Loan, Roslin, Midlothian, EH25 9PU.
Price: Adults 9 GBP (11.92 USD); Concessions 7 GBP (9.27 USD); Children go free as part of a family group.
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday, 9.30 am to 5 pm (6 pm from June to August). Sundays from midday to 4.45 pm. Last admissions is 30 minutes before closing.
Contact: +44 131 440 2159 or email [email protected]
Website: Rosslyn Chapel
Scotland’s capital has been home to a whole host of movie locations, and is perhaps most famously linked to the 90s classic Trainspotting, which shot all over the city and included Ewan MacGregor’s iconic run through its streets. But, as famous as this association is, there is much more to Edinburgh’s movie links than simply Trainspotting and this year’s sequel. Indeed, it continues to have a magnetic attraction on film crews. The next Avengers blockbuster movie, Infinity War, filmed some scenes on the famous Royal Mile – a cobbled street in the heart of the Old Town, which runs between Edinburgh Castle and the royal palace of Holyrood.
Address: Edinburgh Castle, Castlehill, Edinburgh, EH1 2NG
Price: Adult (over 16s) 17 GBP (22.52 USD); Children (aged 5 to 15) 10.20 GBP (13.51 USD); Concessions (over 60s or unemployed) 13.60 GBP (18.01 USD). Under fives go free.
Opening Hours: Daily 9.30 am to 5 pm (6 pm from April 1st to September 30th). Last entry is an hour before closing.
Contact: +44 131 225 9846
Website: Edinburgh Castle
Take a train to Glasgow and there’s a 50-50 chance that you’ll walk into the location of a blockbuster scene the second you set foot outside one of the city’s two main railway stations. Despite the obvious differences between the cities, George Square, just outside Queen Street Station actually doubled for downtown Philadelphia during World War Z, the 2013 Brad Pitt smash. There’ll likely be fewer zombies during your visit though…
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4. St. Andrews
As well as being famous around the world as the home of golf, St. Andrews and its beautiful beaches have also made quite the splash in the world of cinema. These sands, near the entrance to the Firth of Tay, were the location of the iconic seaside run – accompanied by classic Vangelis score – in the early 80s Oscar-winner Chariots of Fire. In fact the scene is so iconic that a spoof version starring comedian Rowan Atkinson’s character Mr Bean even featured in the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics. And, of course, if you tire of recreating this legendary scene yourself, you could always book yourself in for a round or two on St. Andrews’ greens and fairways.
St Andrews Links
Address: Links Clubhouse, West Sands, St Andrews, KY16 9XL
Contact: +44 1334 466 718 (for reservations) or email [email protected]
Website: St Andrews Links
The moody atmosphere and spectacular scenery make Glencoe the go-to location for many a movie and film. Whether it be the smash romantic time-travel TV epic Outlander or James Bond spy blockbusters, they’ve all been here at one point or other. In the case of the latter, the iconic Aston Martin DB5 and movie star Daniel Craig were filmed here for 2013’s classic, Skyfall. Of course, there is much more to Glencoe than simply acting as inspiration for movie cameras. The area is home to a host of spectacular hikes, as well as the Glencoe Mountain Resort – perfect for a little skiing if the weather is right.
Glencoe Mountain Resort
Address: Kingshouse, Glencoe, Argyll, PH49 4HZ
Contact: +44 1855 851 226 or email [email protected]
Website: Glencoe Mountain Resort
6. Doune Castle
Comedy fans will want to make a beeline for Doune Castle, site of many a classic Monty Python scene in the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Indeed, so closely associated with the film has it become that the on-site shop does a mean line in copies of the script and even coconut halves for those who find themselves sans horse – though whether those coconuts were carried there by African or European swallows is one for Python purists to decide for themselves. And it is not just Python fans who are drawn to the castle, Outlander has also used this historic fortification for scenes.
Address: Doune Castle, Castle Hill, Doune, Perthshire, FK16 6EA
Price: Adults 6 GBP (7.95 USD); Children (age five to 15) 3.60 GBP (4.77 USD); Concessions 4.80 GBP (6.36 USD). Under fives go free.
Opening Hours: Daily 9.30 am to 5.30 pm (April 1st to September 30th) or 10 am to 4 pm (October 1st to March 31st). Last entry 30 minutes before closing.
Contact: +44 1786 841 742
Website: Doune Castle
This island is world famous for good reason. Its spectacular landmarks, which include the iconic Old Man of Storr and the Quiraing, have taken visitors’ breaths away for centuries. The colourful history of the island and its place in popular culture, such as its links to the Jacobite rebellions of the 18th century, have also enticed many to pay it a visit. So is it any wonder that countless film crews have deemed its vistas worthy of a spot in their productions? The number of films drawn to Skye is truly impressive. Whether it be science-fiction in the form of Prometheus and the latest Transformers movie, fantasy in the likes of Stardust, or classic Shakespeare in the form of 2015’s Macbeth, they’ve all been enticed by its majestic peaks and beautiful seas. And after you’ve stopped off at some of these locations, Skye is the perfect starting point for a Hebridean adventure, thanks to its ferry links to the Western Isles.
Contact: +44 1475 650 397 (for international enquiries), 0800 066 5000 within the UK or email [email protected]
Website: Caledonian MacBrayne
8. Eilean Donan Castle
One of Scotland’s most famous castles, the island fortification of Eilean Donan, which is linked to the nearby mainland via a short stone bridge, has naturally proven fertile ground for film-makers. Whether it be romantic scenes in Made of Honor, MI6’s northern base in Bond film The World is Not Enough, or the ancestral home of Connor MacLeod in 80s action classic Highlander, “there can be only one” Eilean Donan Castle! What’s more, its location close to the Skye Bridge makes it easy to add to any holiday itinerary which takes in a visit to the world-famous Scottish island.
Eilean Donan Castle
Address: Eilean Donan Castle, Dornie, by Kyle of Lochalsh, IV40 8DX
Price: Adults 7.50 GBP (9.93 USD), Over 60s 6.50 GBP (8.61 USD); Children (over five) 4 GBP (5.30 U, Under fives go free, Families 20 GBP (26.49 USD)
Opening Hours: Vary. Check website for details.
Contact: +44 1599 555202 or email [email protected]
Website: Eilean Donan Castle
Perhaps most famous to movie fans as being home to the railway viaduct over which the Hogwarts Express passes in the Harry Potter films, the picturesque surrounds of Glenfinnan cast their spell on many other location scouts down the years, including the classic BBC TV series Monarch of the Glen and Cate Blanchett war movie Charlotte Gray. History fans will also be enticed by the location – Glenfinnan Monument marks the spot in 1745 where the Young Pretender, Bonnie Prince Charlie, raised his standard on the Scottish mainland to start his doomed bid to seize back the British crown for his family.
Address: Glenfinnan Monument Visitor Centre, Glenfinnan, PH37 4LT
Price: Free (there is a charge for those who wish to do a tour)
Opening Hours: Site is open all year round. Visitor centre is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm from April 1st to October 31st (opens 9.30 am July 1st to August 31st)
Contact: +44 1397 722250 or email [email protected]
Website: Glenfinnan Monument
10. Dumfries and Galloway
Horror fans will need no introduction to the classic movie The Wicker Man. No, not the dreadful 2006 Nicolas Cage remake, although his infamous ‘not the bees’ line is enough to terrify most movie fans. I’m talking about the seminal British classic from 1973 starring Sir Christopher Lee. This movie shot at a number of locations around Scotland, including Plockton near Skye and at Culzean Castle in Ayrshire. However, most of the location photography was filmed in Dumfries and Galloway in and around the coastal town of Newton Stewart. Indeed, so close is the film’s links to this picturesque spot that the world premiere was held in its small cinema.
Newton Stewart visitor guide
Website: Newton Stewart
Fertile film hunting ground
Scotland’s magnetic pull on movie directors means you could spend a lifetime travelling the length and breadth of this beautiful country and still not visit all of its film locations. Of course, after a visit to some of these inspirational spots you’ll likely be determined to give it your very best try…